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Selling Completed Models and Miniatures for Profit.

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  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: Where the coyote howl, NH
Selling Completed Models and Miniatures for Profit.
Posted by djrost_2000 on Thursday, August 02, 2007 5:06 PM

It's a rare breed that can make and sell models and minis and make a complete living off it.  But what about those who sell their work for a little side money?

How many are out there that sell their works for a profit?  And what are good guidelines to follow, like how much to charge?  How do you ship them if you don't just sell locally?  What about product liability with small parts and children?

I hope to hear from you,

Dave 

 

 

  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Charlotte, North Carolina
Posted by the doog on Friday, August 03, 2007 8:03 AM

When I complete a model these days I have such an attachment to it that it'd be like selling one of my "kids". (I'm childless)
 I've tried to sell some of my old ones in a second-hand store up in the Pocono's (Pa) but I don't think it was realy the right venue for it.

I couldn'y even think of building-to-sell!  I'd be like, uh...I've changed my mind!....Whistling [:-^]Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg]

My FOTKI model gallery with most of my best models can be found HERE

My real name is "Karl" Smile

  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: Baton Rouge, Snake Central
Posted by PatlaborUnit1 on Friday, August 03, 2007 9:57 AM

I emailed a gentleman who was selling his buildups on Ebay. Not your typical "pro built" crap but nicely built well-detailed models that he priced very fairly considering the amount of effort he put into them. He told me he sells off the older builds so he has room for newer buillds, and packs then inside a big plastic bag encased in a much bigger box, swimming in plastic peanuts. this then can go inside another larger box ( I have done this myself and it works fine) again filled with peanuts. for a 1/48 B17 your giong to wind up with a BIG outer box. I took my 1/35 Blackhawk *(packed inside a plastic shipping container with rotors removed) to Fedex and they put it in another BIG cardboard box. It arrived just fine. Grounds shipping is the key. Air shipping stuff is literally THROWN, adn the more isnurance stickers it has on it, the harder it gets thrown!!!!! I sent a 1/48 UH1 commission build cross-country UPS and it arrived, in double boxes, in peices with the box crushed and a hole tearing all the way through to the second box.  The purchaser was able to repair the damage. I haven't touched UPS since.

 

David

Build to please yourself, and don't worry about what others think! TI 4019 Jolly Roger Squadron, 501st Legion
  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: California
Posted by SprueOne on Saturday, August 04, 2007 3:14 AM
I don't know. I can't sell any of my models either.

Anyone with a good car don't need to be justified - Hazel Motes

 

Iron Rails 2015 by Wayne Cassell

  • Member since
    March, 2005
  • From: West Virginia, USA
Posted by mfsob on Saturday, August 04, 2007 6:53 AM

I have built two models on commission, I guess, for people who wanted a specific ship (both were friends I have known for years).

In each case I charged for the materials actually used in the build - the kit, the total cost of aftermarket stuff if all of it was used for the kit, a fair percentage of things that were used on the kit but or which some is left over - and that's it. For me, the joy is in the research, building and detailing, and I can't in good conscience charge someone for that.

It turns out that the most expensive part of each project was the brass plaque for the base!

  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: Where the coyote howl, NH
Posted by djrost_2000 on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 1:03 PM

Guys, thanks for the advice.  I think if I start selling on Ebay I may limit things shipped to the US and keep it ground transportation.  I like the idea of the box-within-a-box-within-a-box for shock absorption.  If I'm doing an aircraft that is gear-down on a tarmac, I'll probably try to get metal gear as much as possible and use epoxy.  

Thank you,

DJ 

  • Member since
    February, 2007
Posted by mitsdude on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 10:39 PM

I dont mean to come across as a Simon Cowell but I have never seen a market for "pro" finished plastic models and dont believe much of one exists. At most you could charge for the cost of the model, paints, glue, etc. No way could you charge much for the amount of time and skill you really put into it. Maybe 10 cents an hour? The folks out there just are not going to spend much on something they figure they can build and paint themselves.

However, I have seen big bucks asked and spent for "cold cast" models.

I'm curious as to why cold cast models sell but plastic model kits do not. Possibly plastic models are viewed as a toy or something you could build yourself for free.

Just brain storming I would think the best place to sell would be at some kind of annual "Convention" that is related to the subject of your model. Example- ComicCon for figure and scifi builders. However, I dont see much of a profit once expenses for attending are figured in.

 

  • Member since
    March, 2007
  • From: Northeast WA State
Posted by armornut on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 11:05 PM
IMHO that if your building to make money,charge as much as you want,someone, somewhere,will pay your price,  but if you have a "9-5" job and are building for the folks asking i personally wouldn't go a penny more than my hourly wage,and keep close account of time actually spent on the kit,as far as extras(p/e,paint,glue)wrk that out before ya start.i just turned over my second "commission"build today, it was tough,prbably one of my best,but the fella who asked for it was very happy........king tiger went to a good home.

we're modelers it's what we do

  • Member since
    December, 2014
Posted by PCeagle on Monday, January 29, 2018 12:26 PM

Hi, Armornut. A reply after more than 10 years I think is a chalenge, but the worst thing to do is don't do anything. Anyway, my question is about that IMHO you wrote on your post. I was looking for a place where someone can sell its aircraft models and I found your answer. Maybe that place doesn't exist anymore... but maybe yes. But I can't find anything with those initials. I think that perhaps you can help me to find it, if you still are part of this forum.

Thanks.

 

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Monday, January 29, 2018 7:11 PM

I would never give up a kit I've built because it's my life there. Although I have given a couple kits to show my appreciation for helping with something out of my comfort zone or expertise. Both loved the kits I've given them.

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Monday, January 29, 2018 8:15 PM

PCeagle

Anyway, my question is about that IMHO you wrote on your post. I was looking for a place where someone can sell its aircraft models and I found your answer. Maybe that place doesn't exist anymore... but maybe yes. But I can't find anything with those initials. I think that perhaps you can help me to find it, if you still are part of this forum.

Thanks.

 

 

IMHO is an acronym for "In My Humble Opinion", not a location. HTH (Hope that helps)

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 7:06 AM

I have sold two of my model projects.  These were scratch builds, and the buyers contacted me after seeing pictures of projects online or in magazines.  Shipping is a big problem.  Of the two, one arrived intact, the other seriously damaged.  On the damaged one, the guy decided to drive here and pick it up after I repaired it.

I also had a friend sell one on eBay.  That model was also seriously damaged.  I got the pieces back and refunded the money.  This was not a scratch built, but a diorama made from two kits and stock materials.  Money was much less than for the scratch projects, and that is why it was not worth my time to try to rebuild it. In all cases I had been careful packaging it.  Shipping companies would not pay, however, claiming it was not packed well enough.  Box on one looked like a bellows after shipping.  Obviously had been dropped from some height.  So shipping a large model is a real problem

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    December, 2014
Posted by PCeagle on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 7:22 AM

Thanks, of course that help. I think I have to learn more English.

  • Member since
    February, 2007
Posted by mitsdude on Thursday, February 01, 2018 2:45 PM

Dang!!!!

I was only 55 when I posted a reply to this message!

 

Wish I knew then what I know now!Big Smile

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, February 01, 2018 4:47 PM

Hmmm;

 I guess it's being in the right place at the right time . In the 70s I built two river steamers for cash . One for the Little Rock Convention cCenter and another for the Little Rock Capitol , Legislative Library . Since then I have done three 1/2 scale commissions for a couple of lawyers , some in 1/25 and many in 1:1 scale for some more lawyers . Others shall not be named as per contract .

 In the Nineties I did some ship and boat models for both Clean Bay and Clean Seas . Now I am still involved in a build for a client in Alabama ( The Kidd , From which my Avatar came ) And the Rail Museum here in town .

 It always wound up being side money except the Clean bay/Clean Seas builds . I was in a life transition and the money was my income that year ! Did well ! Don't recommend this part of modeling for anyone . Folks expect much for little !

  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Thursday, February 01, 2018 6:57 PM

After doubling and even tripling my "hourly fee" to $35  an hour, people still came to me for commission build's.

I once spent 100 hour's on a 1/87 scale steam crane.... but there was NO WAY I could charge $3500 for it. ( I came up with a more "realistic" price of $150 .)

I dont do much commission work anymore, but a good price scale would be 3X what the kit and supply's cost. Dont forget to add shipping. ( Dont bother with shipping insurance.... they wont pay if something get's broken. They will tell you "It's to delicate, ... You shouldn't have shipped it. ) 

Funny ..... they were only "too willing" to take my money !!!

 Dont worry about the thumbprint, paint it Rust , and call it "Battle Damage".

  

 

    

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